Radial-G Racing Revolved
Best Part:Visually impressive, and very accessible
Worst Part:Potentially sickening for those prone to sim-sickness
Radial-G is a sharp, addicting, arcade racer in the tradition of F-Zero or Wipeout. It’s clearly been built with the Rift in mind and is all the better for it!
Tammeka Games recently sent us a demo build of their new futuristic arcade racer, Radial-G: Racing Revolved.
It is very reminiscent of the F-Zero or Wipeout series – think techno music, speed-boost chevrons, and floating advertising billboards, in a cyber-punk cityscape. While it’s not exclusively for the Oculus Rift, after trying it in VR, I can’t imagine going back to play it on a monitor.
The subtitle; “Racing Revolved” refers to the fact that the track you race on is one long floating pipe, snaking its way amongst the buildings. You’ll find yourself rotating round the pipe in search of those speed-boosts – at one moment upside-down, the next racing along the inner-side of the turns. This may sound disorientating or nauseating and yes, if you’re prone to simulation sickness then you should approach with caution. Even if you remain on the top of the cylindrical track, and moderate your speed enough to look around, then Radial-G still gives most rollercoaster experiences a run for their money. However, I didn’t personally find it especially bad – better, in fact, than many coasters, and was able to race about a dozen attempts at the demo track without a break, in relative comfort. I’m not sure if it is high-performance, the enclosed cockpit view or the control you have over your own movement that made it physically tolerable in spite of high speeds.
Radial-G looks really great in the Rift. You don’t have a lot of time to take in your environment, but if you stop to do so you’ll appreciate the view. There’s a, presumably intentional, ambiguity as to what is up and what is down – that probably contributes to mitigating nausea when you’re speeding along the underside of a pipe, and also serves to re-enforce the anti-grav racer aesthetic.
The cockpit of your racer looks cool and works well, as we have come to expect from these sorts of games. It would be nice to have a body and see arms manipulating the throttle, but I understand this will be coming in the future. Little details like the cockpit sound system make it stand out and the wide field of view of the windscreen enhances the experience. In fact, the view from the cockpit provides a genuine gameplay advantage thanks to the clever affordance of the track design – allowing you to occasionally look up, or to the side, to see beyond the next turn, and where abouts you need to be on the track to hit that next speed boost.
This demo just has one single-player track available on a time-attack mode. The full game obviously promises more tracks, environments and different vehicles – as well as up to 32-player multiplayer. Certainly, all these things, chief among them other cars on the track, will significantly enhance the experience. I understand a kickstarter coming soon – so keep an eye out for that because Radial-G is certainly one of the better arcade-style racers available for the Rift and definitely worth a look when it becomes available.